By John Lewallen, Public Ocean Access Network
The conflict between “conservationists” and “preservationists” as it shapes fisheries policy and law is analyzed by Laura L. Manning in her 1989 study focused on marine mammals. “Preservationism,” as practiced by the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (MLPAI), exploits a culturally suicidal belief that human beings must be removed from the ocean food chain in order to keep fisheries from collapsing worldwide.
This belief is obviously untrue on California’s North Coast, where we have enjoyed two annual seasons of super-nutritious upwelling in the world’s cleanest and best-managed ocean fishery in the world.
Living with North Coast wild seaweed for thirty years, I see that in a thousand years the intertidal and nearshore ocean will always be a basic source of essential human nutrition. People will use the same access points, and the same fishing and diving areas, as have been used for the past thousand years.
Now the “preservationists” are so-called “environmentalists” who oppose the basic inspiration of the environmental movement: the truth that human beings are part of the Earth’s whole ecosystem. The protectionists fantasize a pristine, primordial ocean ecosystem without humans in it, much as the European invaders of North America fantasized an uninhabited, virgin wilderness.
The sea otter and harp seal are the preservation movement’s best money-producing poster children. The preservationists who drive the MLPAI are primarily funded by ocean industrialists: corporate money, coming through Packard and Pew, made anonymous by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.
Ocean industrialists and the new preservationists love each other, and they are leading the world on a suicidal quest to remove essential ocean food providers from the ocean food chain. The industrialists have bought a science to make a new marine management orthodoxy out of Marine Protected Areas, acting primarily through Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS).
In California today, the government is broke; the super-rich and big corporations have all the money. In the MLPAI process, the Pew-Packard-RLFF finances the Governor, the Legislators, the foundation-funded careerists in protectionist groups, the process itself, Fish & Game Commissioners, the mass media.
With a thousand-year eye, this attempt to impose no-take zones on North Coast fisheries is foredoomed. The people doing it are trying to cut themselves off from essential food for human health and survival. It won’t work here, not for long.